Alba IWS opens Hong Kong e-scrap facility

Alba IWS opens Hong Kong e-scrap facility

Plant will process eight types of appliances and electronic scrap.

March 20, 2018

Alba Integrated Waste Solutions (ALBA IWS) has marked the official opening of its new Hong Kong WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) Park for the processing and recycling of eight types of discarded appliances or computer equipment.

The company hosted a ceremony March 19, 2018, at the 66,000-square-foot plant that featured remarks from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive Carrie Lam. The ceremony and a plant tour afterward also were attended by Alba Group Chair and CEO Dr. Axel Schweitzer and Hong Kong Minister for the Environment Wong Kam-sing.

The plant is the result of a joint venture between Berlin-based Alba Group and Hong Kong-based IWS that was formed in cooperation with the government of the HKSAR. Hong Kong’s government has signed a 10-year contract with Alba IWS to help collect and then process discarded refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines, televisions, computers, monitors, printers and scanners.

The contract and process has been regulated to include item tracking, data security and hazardous materials segregation and storage aspects. The facility includes a testing and repair center for refurbishable items, and each shredding line is preceded by dismantling stations designed to ensure the identification and collection of hazardous fluids and components.

The automated shredding and downstream sorting lines feature shredders made by German manufacturer Erdwich and a variety of magnets, screens and optical sorting units designed to produce clean ferrous and aluminum scrap, plus mixed shredded nonferrous metals and mixed shredded plastics.

Alba Group calls the Hong Kong arrangement “the largest single contract in the company’s history” and indicates that over the life of the contract it will have a value of approximately €318 million ($392 million).

“This is a milestone for more recycling in Hong Kong,” says Schweitzer. “As one of the leading recycling companies of the world, we are proud of being chosen as a partner by the Hong Kong government. For us, this is an incentive to continue supporting Hong Kong in its aim to establish professional recycling.”

The official opening of the facility comes during the 50th anniversary of Alba.

“To the contractor, congratulations, and I look forward to your continued contributions towards the recycling and recovery of WEEE in Hong Kong,” Lam said at the opening ceremony. “This project will underpin the producer responsibility scheme on WEEE that the government will be implementing in full later this year. I look forward to closer collaboration and cooperation between the Hong Kong and overseas’ economies as we are working at full steam to green our environment and make Hong Kong an even more livable city.”

The plant has been designed to process the majority of the eight “regulated” items discarded in Hong Kong, which represents an estimated 85 percent of the 70,000 metric tons of WEEE generated each year in the HKSAR.

The plant has been designed to handle 30,000 metric tons of WEEE each year if operating on one shift, but it can accommodate 56,000 metric tons per year with additional shifts.

In addition to the construction and operation of the plant, the contract includes the development and operation of a city-wide collection system with five satellite collection centers and a fleet of trucks to be operated during the 10-year span.

In comments to the media after the opening ceremony, HKSAR Minister for the Environment Wong indicated Hong Kong’s government intends to tighten its e-scrap import regulations to ensure that the new facility recycles only appliances and e-scrap generated within Hong Kong and not items shipped there from other parts of the world.